Post Greyhawk Wars: 585 CY
Ruler: Her Fey Majesty, Queen Yolande, Perfect Flower of Celene, Lady Rhalta of All Elvenkind
Government: Hereditary feudal monarchy in which royal house and all noble houses are elven; currently has no official political relations with any outside nation
Major Towns: Enstad (pop. 7,200)
Provinces: Many manorial estates, castles, and townships governed by princes, dukes, counts, and barons in a chaotic patchwork
Resources: Foodstuffs, cloth, silver, fine wine and spirits
Coinage: Moonveil (pp) suncrown (gp), starcloak (ep), bellflower (sp), oakleaf (cp)
Population: 140,000—Elf 79% (gray 55%, sylvan 45%), Human 9% (Sof). Half-elf 5%, Gnome 3%, Halfling 2% (tallfellow 50%, lightfoot 25%, stout 25%), Other 2%
Languages: Elven, Common, Sylvan, Gnome, Halfling
Alignments: CG*, NG, LN, N, LG
Religions: Elf pantheon*, gnome pantheon, Ehlonna, Phaulkon, Phyton, halfling pantheon
Allies: Duchy of Ulek (minor), Knights of Luna (but see below)
Enemies: Pomarj, Iuz. However, Celene has politically isolated itself from all surrounding states.
Overview: Celene is the principal nation of the elves in the Flanaess. Ruled by an elven monarch of Faerie lineage, the Grand Court is imbibed of the Fey Mysteries, from the frolics to the passions, and all rites are observed with deliberate care. Queen Yolande is foremost in these devotions, and this has given her the reputation, in human lands, of being Queen Yolande of Celene and her advisor, Onselven oblivious to events beyond Celene’s borders. This is only partly accurate, since the queen sometimes receives ambassadors from foreign lands and displays a clear understanding of events in the larger Flanaess.
However, she has also clearly stated that she wishes no elves to die in humanity’s wars. Celene’s borders are formed by the Jewel River in the East, and the Handmaiden River to the west and south. To the north are the Kron Hills and the curving eastern spur of the Lortmils, which form a vast natural arena behind the capital, Enstad. The capital is located in the northwestern corner of Celene, by the headwaters of the Handmaiden River. Enstad is a small city, compared to other capitals, and is dominated by the Palace of the Faerie Queen, with its gold-chased silver domes and spires. Parks and meadows, filled with numerous fountains, pools, and gardens, are the other chief examples of architecture in the elven capital.
All of this is well defended by the Companion Guard, knights under the command of the royal consort. The standing military of Celene is primarily elven light infantry with longswords and longspears, with numerous companies of archers as well. Celene also boasts an elite hippogriff-riding cavalry, chosen from the most noble and experienced gray elven officer in the queen’s service. Most forces in the kingdom are loyal to the queen, but dissenting groups such as the Knights of Luna serve leaders with different ambitions. Most of these units are border companies in the Suss or the Welkwood, and many have fought Pomarj orcs in the Principality of Ulek. History: Celene has ever been home to the gray elves of the Flanaess. In ancient days, elven princes held sway from the Velverdyva to the Wild Coast; by the time of the Migrations, their rule had diminished o isolated pockets such as Celene. In those dark days, groups of fleeing Suloise pushed through the Lortmils and entered the elven country, but their sojourn was brief. Such was the wantonness and cruelty of the Suel that most were banished by the elves and driven past the Jewel River. Other human tribes, even among the Suloise, were better received by the elves if they cherished the land and its life. The elves of Celene even offered their allegiance to the benign rulers of Keoland for several centuries, rejecting them only when warlike monarchs took the Keoish throne.
The Grand Court assembled at Enstad to determine the best course for the elves, seeking a leader from among their number. Princess Yolande of Bellmeadow, a fey wizard and accomplished warrior, was hailed by the gathered nobles as their brightest hope. Together with the Ulek Provinces, Celene expelled the royal garrisons of Keoland. Princess Yolande organized the defenses of the elven nation, and Prince Consort Triserron proved an able field commander, besting Keoish forces in a number of short engagements. With their victories came full independence for Celene, and the elevation of Yolande to queen of the new realm.
Other perils soon threatened the elven kingdom. The orcs of the Lortmils, no longer restrained by Keoish patrols, attacked their lowland neighbors with increasing ferocity. These invasions were always turned back, but at great cost, and there seemed no end to the hordes that spewed from the mountains each spring. Celene joined in a defensive alliance with the Ulek States and the Kron Hills gnomes, seeking to contain the nonhuman menace by coordinating the efforts of each nation’s military. They achieved limited success, but continued to incur losses, the greatest of these being the death of the prince consort of Celene. While returning from a mission to the County of Ulek, the prince consort was waylaid and slain by orcs in a narrow pass south of the town of Courwood. His tragic death led the elves of Celene to spearhead the Hateful Wars.
The Hateful Wars were a series of conflicts waged for more than a decade against the orcs and goblins in the heart of the Lortmils. Following the Low Road of the Lortmils (the underground passages that linked the major goblinoid lairs), the combined forces discovered every secret stronghold in the chain. Each orc, goblin, and hobgoblin lair was destroyed, together with as many of the hated beings as possible. Forced to the surface, the survivors had nowhere to recover their strength and numbers.
After two harsh winters they were driven from the mountains altogether. The successful prosecution of the Hateful Wars brought Yolande even greater honor: she was invested by the Grand Court with the Mantle of the Blue Moon, giving her the title “Lady Rhalta of All Elvenkind.” Queen Yolande found little comfort in such artifacts and honorifics while she grieved for her loss, though she took a series of consorts with whom she might practice the Faerie Mysteries. Through the years, Celene and its monarch grew ever more isolationist, until by the time of the Greyhawk Wars Yolande did not even offer assistance to the Principality of Ulek against the orcs of the Pomarj. This inconceivable turn of events led many to wonder if the queen was under the influence of evil advisors, or perhaps even mad. In truth, she merely saw the lives of elves as more important than any other consideration.
Since the Wars, Celene has maintained its official policy of noninvolvement, though many elves have volunteered to fight in the Suss Forest or farther afield. The Knights of Luna are a force of dissension, though many of their most aggressive members are found in the Duchy of Ulek rather than Celene itself. The affairs of the Grand Court are obscure to outsiders, though it would seem that Queen Yolande is still in complete authority. She has even acquired a new honorific: the Perfect Flower of Celene. Clearly, though many Celenese find fault with her policies, they also remember her past greatness, and are not yet willing to turn from her.
New Dangers in the Flanaess
Celene. Greatest of the olven lands in the Flanaess. For years Yolande has closed her borders, leaving only the Knights of Luna to patrol outside her borders. Now, a dark power begins to rise at the heart of the capital in the guise of Tiollar Taneska: The Tomorrow Tree.
Some fifteen years ago, a sapling appeared in the courtyard of the Palace of the Fairie Queen. Its tiny branches thrust up through the cobbles toward the sun, and every day it grew taller – the cobbles around its base were removed to allow it to thrive. The tree was discovered to be an unknown species, and the elves took to calling it the Tomorrow Tree for how fast it grew. It grew so fast that at times it could be heard groaning, a deep dark sound that conjured images of roots sunk deep into cold ground.
Over the course of the next fifteen years, the tree was taller and thicker than the most ancient trees in the elven forest. It was hailed as a sign of the rightness of Yolande’s isolationist tactics. Only a few seemed disturbed by the unusual tree. Druids of the highest order came from across Celene to view and study the tree, but none sensed the violation of nature below the earth.
The truth of the Tomorrow Tree is much more than the olvenfolk have seen. The seeds for the tree were garnered from a layer of the Abyss by a wily and wicked imp, Tchkerra. The tree thrives not on sunlight, but on darkness. Its blood red flowers bloom only at night, and its presence is dampened during the day. While it is an Abyssal plant, it is largely nuetral, and only barely sentient.
At the base of the tree, now some thirty feet across is a large knotted bole. Tchkerra uses this bole at night, as the Tomorrow Tree is nearly hollow inside. This is the lair of Tchkerra and his master Xycth, an Illithid of wicked cunning. For the past fifteen years, Tchkerra and Xycth have used this Abyssal tree as their fortress, spreading a thin acid from its roots. All other fauna in the area has begun to fail, with the exception of the Tomorrow Tree.
While the olvenfolk scramble to find the source of the withering fauna, only the Tree in the courtyard stands unaffected. Elven druids and priests look to the Tree for a cure, never knowing that the cause is literally right under their noses.
Reluctantly, a call for heroes goes out to the surrounding countryside…